Origami Poems is a non-profit organization with a mission of “the encouragement of literature & the arts by bringing Free Poetry to everyone through the printing and distribution (world-wide) of free Origami micro-chapbooks as well as through poetry events, both of which engender increasing awareness of and appreciation for the art of poetry.” They are currently accepting entries for their semi-annual ‘Best of Kindness’ contest judged by Julia Meylor and are open for regular poetry micro-chapbook submissions as well. They will publish a ‘Kindness’ anthology in the fall as they have done with their previous two contests (see Amazon). All those accepted for this collection will receive a complimentary copy.
This on-going project of literary citizenship is something I truly admire, so I asked co-founding editor Jan Keough a few questions to find out more. See my interview with Keough and a link to contest/submission guidelines below.
HOPKINSON: Tell me a little bit about the Origami Poems.
KEOUGH: The Origami Poems Project has published free micro-chapbooks (i.e., ‘microchaps’) of poetry since 2009. The work is presented in a single-page PDF that is folded, origami-style, into a six page booklet. Each page accommodates 27 lines with 47 characters per line. We are a 501 (c )3 Non-Profit and rely completely on donations. Our PayPal link is on our website under Donations.
HOPKINSON: How/why was the Origami Poems originally started?
KEOUGH: The creation of a microchap (pocketsize booklet) started from a poetry prompt given by RI poet Barbara Schweizer to a small group of RI poets. After this micro-beginning came a “project” promoted by the Origami Three: Barbara, Lynnie Gobeille & myself. I have been the sole editor/manager for several years now. Many, many poets have told us how much they enjoy sharing these little collections with friends, family and, particularly, at readings.
HOPKINSON: Who is your target reader audience?
KEOUGH: All who enjoy reading work that is both insightful and honest. We tend to focus on poetry with a positive vibe and look for work that is challenging and yet accessible.
HOPKINSON: What type of work are you looking for?
KEOUGH: From haiku to free verse, if it inspires, intrigues, perplexes or just makes us laugh then this work is our ‘type.’
HOPKINSON: What do you wish you’d see submitted, but rarely comes in?
KEOUGH: We’d like to see more micro flash fiction.
HOPKINSON: What are some of your favorite lit mags/journals?
KEOUGH: Poetry Magazine, Poets & Writers, Nine Muses Poetry, Blue Heron Review, Crosswinds Poetry, Naugatuck Review & New Verse News.
HOPKINSON: What is your favorite part of being on staff with the Origami Poems?
KEOUGH: I love to hear how a poet has been encouraged to write/submit after publishing a microchap with us. Encouragement is the heart and soul of this project. That said, I enjoy learning how the poet had actually ‘found’ the Project. Many poets have been recommended to us, others came across a microchap at a reading. Several poets have returned and have several microchaps over the years.
Let me mention the microchap cover. Many covers are collages that I’ve created. Also, we’ve had artwork generously shared by artist/poet, Lauri Burke.
HOPKINSON: Where can we send submissions?
KEOUGH: Thru our Submittable portal: https://origamipoemsproject.submittable.com/submit
HOPKINSON: If someone has a question, how can they contact you?
KEOUGH: Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
DEADLINE: July 15, 2020
FORMAT: downloadable PDFs online for printable, foldable micro-chapbooks
SUBMISSION FEE: None
First Place – $100
Second Place – $50
Third Place – $25
Poets included in the ‘Best of Kindness’ 2020 anthology will receive a contributor copy.
FORMS: Poems and micro flash fiction
SUBMISSION METHOD: Submittable